Can I Sue if I Fall on a Sidewalk in Ocala, FL?
Bill Allen | February 6, 2023 | Slip & Fall Accidents
Sidewalks provide safe options for walking, jogging, and running throughout Ocala. However, when a sidewalk is uneven or broken, you could slip, trip, and fall on the sidewalk. Who is responsible for your damages when you trip and fall on uneven sidewalks in Ocala, Florida?
Who Is Responsible for Uneven Sidewalks in Ocala, FL?
The government is responsible for maintaining most of the sidewalks in Ocala. Therefore, the City of Ocala, Marion County, or the State of Florida could be liable for a sidewalk slip and fall accident. However, other parties could be liable, depending on the circumstances involved in the case.
For example, a homeowner or business owner could be liable for an Ocala sidewalk lawsuit. A landlord or construction company could be liable.
Conversely, if someone slips on your sidewalk, you could be liable for damages. The first step in recovering compensation for a sidewalk accident is determining who is responsible for the sidewalk. Then, you can file a lawsuit against the property owner or government entity.
Can You Sue the City for Uneven Sidewalks in Ocala, FL?
Sovereign immunity protects governments from being sued. You cannot file a lawsuit against the government unless it waives the immunity.
Fortunately, Florida waives sovereign immunity in tort actions for specific actions in Florida Statute §768.28. However, there are limitations when suing the government for a sidewalk accident.
For example, Florida law caps damages when you sue the government for negligence. Damages are capped at $200,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.
If your damages exceed the caps for compensation, you can request the state legislature review the case. The state legislature could increase the amount of damages owed to you by the state agency responsible for the sidewalk.
What Do You Need To Prove To Win a Case if You Fall on a Sidewalk in Ocala?
Most sidewalk slip and fall accidents fall under premises liability laws. Premises liability claims require that you prove the following elements to establish the owner’s negligence for your claims:
- Duty of Care – The party responsible for or who owns the sidewalk owed you a legal duty of care
- Breach of Duty – The responsible party or owner breached the duty of care. A breach of duty occurs when the owner fails to repair defects, warn of defects or hazards, or take reasonable steps to inspect and maintain the sidewalk.
- Causation – The breach of duty is the direct and proximate cause of your fall.
- Damages – You sustained damages as a result of falling on the sidewalk because of the owner’s or the responsible party’s negligence.
You have the burden of proving your claim. The evidence must establish each legal element by a preponderance of the evidence. The at-fault party might raise allegations of contributory fault to fight your claim.
Contributory fault alleges that you are not entitled to full compensation for injuries because you are partially negligent for the accident. In other words, your actions are partially to blame for your fall on a sidewalk.
Florida’s pure comparative fault law does not bar individuals from recovering compensation for damages. However, it does reduce compensation by the victim’s percentage of fault. Therefore, if you were 50% to blame for the cause of your injury, you would only receive one-half of the value of your damages.
What Damages Can I Receive for a Fall on a Sidewalk in Ocala?
The damages for a slip and fall case include the monetary losses you incur and the pain and suffering caused by the injury. Therefore, you can recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Physical discomfort
- Medical bills and expenses
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of benefits and wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- A decrease in quality of life
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Mental anguish
- Lost future wages and decrease in earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The amount you receive for a sidewalk slip and fall accident depends on the severity of your injuries, the evidence you have proving fault, and other factors. An Ocala sidewalk injury lawyer can evaluate your case during a free consultation.
What Is the Deadline To File an Ocala Sidewalk Lawsuit in Florida?
The Florida statute of limitations for most slip and fall cases is four years from the injury date. If you do not file your lawsuit before that date, you lose your right to pursue a legal action for damages.
However, the filing deadline is shorter if a government entity is liable for damages. Typically, you only have three years to file your claim. Furthermore, you must meet specific noticing requirements to preserve your right to file a lawsuit against the government.
Talking with an Ocala slip and fall accident lawyer as soon as possible after an injury is the best way to avoid missing a filing deadline.
Contact Our Ocala Slip and Fall Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Ocala slip and fall accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: